Gautam Gambhir: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Gautam Gambhir

What he said:

“I have enjoyed when a gorgeous cricket ball declines the advances of my well-manicured cricket bat. But loaded with the perseverance of a sincere lover, my bat wins.”

Gautam Gambhir waxes lyrical on the value of practiced perseverance. The Indian opener confesses, that unlike Andre Agassi, he loves his sport.

Gambhir wrote:

“Whenever I look at the Gautam Gambhir in the mirror it seems tennis star Andre Agassi is reading out passages from his autobiography, Open. Agassi says he ‘hated tennis with dark and secret passion’. This is after tennis gave him identity, fortune, silverware, a few wanted and unwanted perks that a successful, young man is prone to get, later on a beautiful wife and most importantly adrenaline of being in a competition. But the fact is he hated his sport. You’d say either Agassi teamed up with the publishers to sell his book, or he’s just being cynical. Sorry, neither.”

Gambhir adds:

“Unlike Agassi, I love my sport. I can watch any game of cricket on TV. Even if the repeat telecast is for the 600th time, I’d be glued with excitement of a woman watching serials on conniving ladies. I might bat like a novice in the middle but I just love batting and its romance. I have enjoyed when a gorgeous cricket ball declines the advances of my well-manicured cricket bat. But loaded with perseverance of a sincere lover my bat wins. It then starts to caress, cuddle and later even lovingly thump its once shining lady.

But the real challenge lies beyond these dreamy passages. You wake up on a match day and you are in company of fear of failure. You turn on the shower and instead of water you have expectations beating on your body. You dress up but in reality you are wearing the image of a celebrity that the outside world wants to see you as – a champion or a loser.”

On Andre Russel, his Kolkata Knight Riders teammate:

“Even in the past he has been our Superman. On most occasions he’s dancing, grooving, laughing and when he gets bored he does all of these all over again. He secretly admits that he wants to dress up like a Jamaican but can’t do it as he’d stand out among ‘sober Indians’.

Amid all this, he is still a bloody good cricketer. There is a method to his power-hitting. Just recall his use of the depth of the crease while hitting those sixes against Chennai Super Kings. He does 100 meters under 11 seconds which I think anyone having a Jamaican passport does. I told him that his Mohawk hairstyle needs a bit of a mojo as it has flattened out. He just gives me a hearty Jamaican laugh as if to say, ‘No mojo skippermaan, my hair needs Viagra!’ Don’t be surprised if Andre actually tells me this one day.”

What Gambhir really meant:

“My love of the game is based on practice and perseverance. The more I persevere and practice, the better I connect. “

What he definitely didn’t:

“Now if James Anderson and company were here, I’d show them how well I’ve mastered their ‘Lady in Red’. For now, I love hammering the ‘White Widow’ on Indian soil.”

 

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Sanjay Bangar: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Sanjay Bangar

What he said:

“If you put on a face that is not you, you will be found out.”

Sanjay Bangar has learnt one thing for certain in his first year as coach.

What he really meant:

“Players respect you if you’re genuine. You cannot don a mask; it can slip at the most awkward moments. Be natural, be yourself and you will have their respect.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’d love to star in Jim Carrey’s ‘The Mask’.”

Sania Mirza: What she said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Sania Mirza

What she said:

Sania Mirza feelingly quips on an earthquake north of Tokyo while at the Toray Tan Pacific Open.

Dominika Cibulkova, however, felt nothing.

“I didn’t even feel it. People were talking and I didn’t really know what was happening. But the chair umpire told me afterwards. That’s never happened to me.”

What Mirza really meant:

“The ground moved from under me and this time it was not Shoaib (Malik).”

What she definitely didn’t:

“Someone, hand me my broom please so that I can clean up this mess. All while I listen to Alanis Morrisette’s ‘Under Rug Swept’.”

Gavin Larsen: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Gavin Larsen

What he said:

“What we did was in the first game of the tournament, we were playing the Yellow Team. We just called them the Yellow Team. We played Zimbabwe at Napier, we called them the Red Team. Pakistan was the Green Team. That made us focus on what we needed to do as a team to beat that Yellow Team. That took away some of the emotion.”

Former New Zealand seam-up bowler, Gavin Larsen, reveals the psychological mindset behind the extraordinary performance of the Kiwis team at the ’92 World Cup.

He said:

“We had some good experience in the team. A lot of guys had played a lot of cricket domestically and for New Zealand. It wasn’t a young, raw, immature team. First and foremost, there was some mental strength across the individuals in the team. The other thing that I do remember is how Martin Crowe insisted that we depersonalised each of the teams. New Zealand has played Australia in the past and you can get caught in the Trans-Tasman hype – playing the old enemy from across the ditch.”

Russell and Martin Crowe
Russell and Martin Crowe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he really meant:

 “We, of course, were the All-Blacks. It wasn’t that hard a stretch to color code our opponents. And we certainly made them eat Crowe.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “How’s that for Emotional Intelligence?”

Bogdan Obradovic: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Bogdan Obradovic

What he said:

“And you know what, if that happens, I’ll be a minister!”

Bogdan Obradovic jokes that Novak Djokovic is so popular in Serbia that he could easily be President.

“There is a joke in Serbia. Actually, it’s not a joke. It’s a fact. Ask any man, woman or kid and they will tell you Novak must be the president. Even the president will say, ‘OK, I am ready to vacate my chair for Novak’.”

The non-playing captain of his country’s Davis Cup team is in Bangalore where India play them for a spot in the World Group.

It was in 2001 at the US Open that Obradovic predicted (to a Serbian reporter) that Djokovic would be World No. 1 someday and win the American title.

“I told him that we have one kid back home and he is going to be No. 1 and win the singles title at the US Open one day. That interview was broadcast on Serbian national television. Many people laughed at me. Today, they smile.
You know Novak was junior World No. 1 at 14. He won the European championships. Now you may wonder how a European champion can be called a world champion. Let me tell you. It’s a funny story. Actually, even Americans and Canadians and Australians used to play in the European championships. It’s funny, I know. So, to me, Novak was the No. 1 junior in the world.”

On Djokovic’s elasticity:

“The good thing was that he was naturally elastic. So we developed an exercise regimen and made sure we didn’t destroy that aspect of his body. Look, most tennis players are strong and powerful. But they are not agile. They don’t possess elastic energy. This is not American Football or rugby. In tennis, you need to have elastic energy. By using your elastic energy, you tend to spend less energy during matches. This helps you recover faster. No one knows your tank capacity; how much gasoline you have. I can tell you Novak spends less energy than any other player on the Tour. That’s why is so fit. That’s why he is No. 1.”

What he really meant:

 “A minister ministers and that’s what I’ll do. After all, haven’t I been ministering to him for years?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Machiavellian, ain’t I?”

Suresh Raina: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Suresh Raina

What he said:

“Even my mother asks me every time I come to Lucknow, koi ladki toh pasand nahi aa gayi wahan (have you selected a girl yet)?”

Suresh Raina is perturbed that no one including his mother believes that he visits Lucknow simply to catch up with his school friends.

Raina said:

“But I actually come here to just unwind with my friends. I have very few friends, and I share a special bond with them. I have a lot of matches coming up after the Champions League, there’s the West Indies tour in October. I know I will not be able to meet my friends for a long time now. So I made a short trip to Lucknow between two tournaments.  She(my mother)’s been after me for a while now to get married, especially since my closest friend has also tied the knot. Each time I go back home, my marriage is the topic of conversation.But I have put off any wedding talk till after the World Cup. Abhi ussi pe focus karna hai. (I have to focus on that.)”

The Chennai Superkings star revealed the secret behind his recent success in the ODIs and T20s against England.

“After I was dropped from the Asia Cup squad earlier this year, I did a lot of introspection as far as my game was concerned. I had to go back to basics, and just perform very well. I spent months with single-minded focus on training, fitness, discipline. I trained at the Lucknow Sports College and in Mumbai, and I spent a lot of time with my friends and family to regain my confidence. You can’t take everyone’s advice, because everyone has a different opinion, so you need to depend on your friends to give you the right advice. That confidence helped me to play my natural game, and tackle the pressure. Pressure tha (there was pressure), but I knew I can turn things around. When I got on the flight from Mumbai to London, I was ready to give my best. And I am so happy I did. It was very important.”

What he really meant:

“My mother wishes I’d make the most of my trips to Lucknow and kill two birds with one stone. Find a girl and meet my pals too. She’s pragmatic that way.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“What?! And be embroiled in a senseless wrangle with the press about the presence of a girlfriend or wife on tour?”

 

Rahul Dravid: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Rahul Dravid

What he said:

“I am a married man, do you think I would have any other answer?”

Rahul Dravid is not averse to wives and girlfriends joining cricketers on tour. The former India No. 3 pooh-poohed notions that the practice adversely impacts players’ performances.

Interacting with the audience after delivering the keynote Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture, he said:

“On a serious side, cricketers travel 11 months in a year, I think wives and girlfriends should be allowed to travel with players. You can’t start blaming wives or girlfriends for performances, that’s not done.

Since I’m married, I would say yes. Wives, girlfriends, or a partner of any gender should be allowed, because the Indian team travels for almost the entire year. You can’t start blaming them for the players’ poor performance. In fact, if you don’t allow them, that would be a bigger problem!”

 

What he really meant:

“Do you really think I wish to argue with my home minister (wife) about this? Spare me the torture.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m going to be the best man at Virat’s wedding.”